Hot and steamy: The delicious semi-dried fish of central Vietnam

By Dac Thanh   June 26, 2017 | 01:34 am PT
For generations, Vietnamese fishing villages have turned to creative ways to stretch the shelf life of their catch.

In Vietnam, people love fresh fish but when there are too much to consume at once, they would think of other ways to preserve the seafood for later use. Many dry or ferment their fish, but a number of fishing villages in Quang Nam Province have been adopting a steaming and drying approach.


This man says the fish are steamed for around 10 minutes. Only experienced cooks can tell exactly when the fish are ready.


The steamed fish are lightly salted.


Then they are dried naturally under the sun. The peak season for the delicacy is the summer. “The fish have to be dried for three days,” said a worker named Nguyen Van Bao.


Ho Thi Lien, owner of a fish steaming facility in Thang Binh District, said she could earn tens of thousands of dollars a year from the business. Vietnam's average annual income was $2,200 last year.


Locals buy fresh fish at VND12,000 (half a dollar) per kilo and sell the steamed fish at VND20,000-47,000 per kilo across Vietnam. They also export the product to South Korea, China, Laos and Cambodia.


These workers are paid VND170,000-250,000 per day. “I do not have to go away from home to look for a job anymore,” said Pham Thi Minh.

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